Bookcases are available in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles to suit any home. Whether you are looking for a bookshelf for your living room or home office, it is important to research each time to determine which one is most convenient for your lifestyle.
Open bookcases are the most common. The design is basic, and consists of an open front with shelves, sides and a back. Some open bookcases have adjustable or removable shelves, allowing you to customize each bookshelf to adapt to the size of your books and display items.
A standard bookcase has horizontal shelves, and is one of the most popular styles used in living rooms and home offices. Standard bookcases are found in a variety of heights - high enough to almost reach the ceiling, and low enough to have as little as two shelves. A high bookcase will allow you to maximize unused wall space, while you can take advantage of the surface space of a low bookcase to display items like lamps or plants.
(Pictured: Jasper Cabinet Edward Open Bookcase)
Cube bookcases have square shelves that are ideal for having sections to display photos, artwork and collectibles with your books. You can also use the cubes to organize books by author or genre. If you want a more narrow bookcase, you can also find this design with cube shelves stacked vertically.
Some cube bookcases are built with open backs, which give a more modern look. If you are looking for a modern bookcase, opt for one that has sleek edges and no detailing.
(Pictured: Aspen Home 37" Cube + Bookcase)
Glass Front Bookcases
Glass front bookcases will display and protect your books and accessories. One of the advantages of glass front bookcases is that you can choose some with wood designs on the doors, from simple to elaborate. You can also find different glass finishes besides clear, like frosted or textured.
Some glass front bookcases have sliding doors, and others have hinged side doors. Make sure to place your bookcase in an area where you can open the doors without any obstructions.
Always look out for additional features that may be included with glass bookcases. You may find some with built-in lights or mirrored backs, which can give the look of a nice display cabinet.
(Pictured: Riverside Sliding Door Bookcase)
With a leaning or ladder bookcase, the shelves become narrower as they go up. These types of bookcases actually do lean against the wall, so it is extremely important to measure your items and know the exact dimensions of the shelves. Always place the most bulky items on the bottom shelves and the lighter smaller items on top - never the other way around. Not only will it look unproportionate, but the top shelves are not meant to hold such large, heavy items.
It is common to find a ladder or leaning bookcase in a contemporary home. You can choose a white bookcase to contrast with black decor, or a black bookcase to contrast with white decor.
(Pictured: Riverside Leaning Bookcase)
Barrister bookcases (also known as lawyer's bookcases) have glass doors covering each shelf, which have hinges at the top and handles at the bottom. This is a good option if you like the look of a glass bookcase, but do not want hinged side or sliding doors. You can comfortably open each door of the bookcase without having to worry about obstructing objects on either side. Some barrister bookcases have doors with glass etching.
The downside of a barrister bookcase is that the shelves are not typically adjustable, since a door is designated for each one.
Étagères, which were widely used during 18th century France, have elegant designs and detailing. They will blend well in almost any traditional-style room. Since there are no ends on the shelves, you can use bookends keep your books in place and prevent them from sliding down.
If you like the open-ended look but want something more modern, you can get a glass bookcase. You can find designs that are so minimal that they consist of glass bookshelves supported with metal poles.
(Pictured: Riverside Étagère)
A bookcase wall is the largest type of bookcase. Many bookcase walls have a variety of shelf sizes, so you can use long, wide shelves for books and small, square shelves for displaying trophies or collectibles.
If you do not have a lot of wall space, you can find this design in a corner bookcase that will allow you to store a large collection of books without taking up as much room. You can sometimes find a bookcase wall with a built-in rail to accommodate a ladder. The ladder itself is sometimes included as well.
(Pictured: Parker House Bookcase Wall)
By: Lee Krumbein